The Department of Agriculture through its Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (DA-AMAD) has continuously link farmers to private sector’s food rationing program.

Recently, the Davao Region Agriculture Cooperative (DRACO), a federation of farmers’ cooperative has its second delivery of vegetables to Pilipinas Shell’s food rationing program through the World Vision COVID-19 Emergency Response Team.

The delivery on May 15 has a total volume of 3 metric tons of assorted fruits and vegetables amounting to P120,050. DRACO’s first delivery on May 7 has grossed P135,000.

 “This market linkage is a testament of how the government and private sector can work together to help ensure market for our farmers and even in times of health crisis,” said DA-XI Regional Technical Director for Operations Marila Corpuz.

DRACO is the first cooperative who availed itself of credit assistance amounting to P2-million from DA's Expanded Survival and Recovery [SURE] Aid program for micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs). It is one of the credit windows of the Agriculture Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) under the Ahon Lahat Pagkain Sapat (ALPAS) Laban COVID-19.

The Pilipinas Shell for its part continues the company’s corporate social responsibility amid the global pandemic by partnering the World Vision COVID-19 Emergency Response for its food distribution program for frontlines and households affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“When Pilipinas Shell learned that DA is linking farmers with consumers while we are on enhanced community quarantine through our daily Kadiwa on Wheels, they contacted us and signified their intention to directly purchase vegetables from our local farmers,” said DA-XI Kadiwa focal person Juvy Pregon.

The Pilipinas Shell through World Vision repacked the vegetables at 3 kilograms per pack and distributes it to health front liners at the Southern Philippines Medical Center and 911 Operation Centers.

“We will also provide the remaining vegetables to communities under lockdown especially those households with pregnant women," said Elizabeth Delgado, World Vision COVID-19 response team leader for Mindanao.

Delgado said vegetable food packs are distributed to health front liners since most of them are having difficulty accessing everyday healthy consumption because they no longer have time to go to the market to buy fresh produce.

DRACO Chairman Bong Cajes said they are sourcing vegetables in various parts of the region particularly in Marilog and Calinan Districts in Davao City, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, and Panabo, Davao del Norte. These include carrots, potato, cabbage, tomato, squash, sitao, sayote, sweet potato, as well as fruits such as table banana.

He said DA also provided the logistics particularly the hauling truck and fuel which enable the DRACO to cut on overhead cost and sell their produce at affordable price. Feliz Amanda C. Lim, DA-XI